The Latest Crop of Diet Drugs

DOWNSIDE: As a way to get thin, Xenical has some drawbacks. Fat that isn?t absorbed has to go somewhere, and Xenical takers find out in a hurry just where. The oily fat that is not absorbed in your gut can slide right out of you. (Doctors advise keeping an extra pair of pants handy in the event of calamitously embarrassing accidents.) Among the drug?s other less elegant side effects are gas with discharge, urgency to have a bowel movement, and fatty or oily stools.

Moreover, about 20 percent of those who take Xenical absorb not only less fat but also fewer nutrients? particularly vitamins D and E and beta- carotene, which is why your doctor will advise you to take a multivitamin daily, at bedtime. To minimize the risk of side effects, it is best to follow a low-fat diet (less than 20 percent or lower of your total daily calories come from fat). You?ll be advised to take Xenical with your three main meals because the drug has to be in your digestive tract when the meals are consumed. It doesn?t do much good against between-meal snacks, which are what make many people fat in the first place. And the drug won?t work against bad carbs.

SHOULD YOU TAKE IT? Xenical may be an option for you if you have a BMI of 30 or greater or have a BMI of 27 or greater and have other risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, or diabetes. But you should not take it if you just need to drop a few pounds or suffer from disorders of intestinal absorption, inflammatory bowel disease, or blockage of bile flow. The drug can aggravate these conditions.

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